Firth’s Masonry business has had a major project underway in Auckland over the past two years to replace its aging East Tamaki facility - with the first blocks produced at the new, state-of-the-art Hunua based block manufacturing plant in September.

Firth’s 44 year old East Tamaki site had become surrounded by residential and light industrial properties over the years, making it unfit for heavy industrial use in the long term. The decision was made to move the Masonry manufacturing to Winstone Aggregates’ Hunua quarry, 20km from East Tamaki at Papakura.

Construction of the new plant on a hilly site has involved the cut and fill of approximately 170,000m3 of earth to produce a flat site for the foundations.

Two years on the new plant features two new, state-of-the-art, five block machines (CPM50s) which enable a significant increase in production capacity, faster mould change times, a more consistent product output and less repair and maintenance downtime.

“This is a very exciting time for Firth as we make this new facility fully operational,” explains Cameron Lee, General Manager for Firth. “Hunua allows us to better cater to our customers needs in the Northern region. To put this into perspective; just one of the two new lines at Hunua can easily cope with the production both lines were producing at the old East Tamaki plant.”

Better distribution

With the new Hunua plant located 45kms south of Auckland’s CBD and, taking into account Auckland’s worsening traffic congestion, the Firth Masonry team were keen to avoid causing delays getting product across the bridge to customers. The solution was to create a North Shore distribution centre in Silverdale which opened in June. The new yard is stocked overnight by the Firth team, avoiding any traffic congestion and allowing more frequent deliveries to customers - from three to five per day - with reduced delivery times.

“I want to thank the Firth Masonry team, particularly Anthony Sheddan, National Masonry Manufacturing Manager, for seeing this major project through to fruition and ensuring Firth’s ability to support our customers requirements in the best possible way now and into the future,” says Cameron Lee, General Manager for Firth.

Firth builds new $30m masonry block plant Image